Urban Art as a Part of City Planning

When one thinks of urban planning, they rarely take art into account. Largely thought of as only being available in museums or hanging on the walls of homes of the elite, art is actually everywhere, and it is all the more apparent in our communities.

What Is “Urban Art”?

Urban art can take on many different forms:

  • Painted murals on the sides of buildings and laneways (not to be confused with graffiti)
  • Creative designs features in public areas
  • Attractive improvements in functional areas
The Benefits of Art in Urban Areas

As more communities incorporate art into their plans and designs, there have been notable benefits:

  1. Art creates a stronger sense of community
    Art allows people to feel a stronger connection to their community. Not only that, but art by local artists shows support for those living and working in the community.
  2. Art transforms urban areas into “destinations”
    Many pieces of art also celebrate the history of an area, helping promote the attractiveness of the area to residents and visitors alike.
  3. Art can increase property values
    In some instances incorporating art into urban environments can boost the property values of residential and commercial properties. One example of this is Melbourne’s City Plan, where laneways are so beautifully adorned that properties in the area are now worth more than before the street art was applied.
 Other Examples of Australian Street Art
Melbourne is well known for its well-established artistic community. Recently a number of initiatives have been put forth by future-thinking planners and local council to make art more accessible to the community (such as the street art initiative in Melbourne’s laneways as mentioned above).
Urban planners based out of other Australian communities have taken note and are starting to incorporate more art into their plans. Brisbane is one great example of integrating art into community spaces. The underside of bridges on the way to the city’s most popular sporting arenas, for example, have been redefined through paintings and images celebrating the history of sport in the city. Olive green or dull slate grey utility boxes are adorned with murals and paint artworks of various styles and themes including city-specific, indigenous-inspired and comic book style pieces.
Then there is Sydney, which has also enjoyed a healthy resurgence of urban art. Areas like Bondi Beach welcomed a number of local artists to transform drab walls with their talents. Previous artistic endeavours including the “I Have A Dream” mural on King Street – originally an illegal piece of graffiti – has also now become recognised as part of Sydney’s heritage.
Attractive communities benefit residents, businesses, and tourists alike. As urban art has proven, even if an area doesn’t have a natural focal point like a mountain or an ocean, one can be created through the creativity, history, and design that urban art provides.
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